Or Dowds. Or Danzigers. Or Trudaeus. Or Ralls.
Her story can’ t get a fair telling in the US press, but Dr. Condoleeza Rice is profiled well in this Times UK piece. After you read it, consider the rather different life-experiences of her numerous white critics in the press and in the Democrat party. Consider it thoughtfully. None of those oh-so-enlightened, oh-so-tolerant, oh-so-”smart” and privileged elitists can shine her shoes. And I suspect they know it, and hate her for it.
Rice’s mother refused to play by the Jim Crow rules. She stood her ground. One confrontation took place at a department store, where Angelena and Condi were browsing through dresses. Condi picked one she wanted to try on, and they walked towards a “whites only” dressing room. A saleswoman blocked their path and took the dress out of Condi’s hand. “She’ll have to try it on in there,” she said, pointing to a storage room.
Coolly, Angelena replied that her daughter would be allowed to try on her dress in a real dressing room or she would spend her money elsewhere. Angelena was composed, firm and resolved. Aware that this elegantly dressed black woman would not back down, the shop assistant decided that her commission was worth more than a public incident and ushered them into a dressing room as far from view as possible. “I remember the woman standing there guarding the door, worried to death she was going to lose her job,” said Rice.
A painful memory of many black Birmingham children was not being able to go to the circus when it came to town or visit the local amusement park, Kiddieland, with its ferris wheels and candyfloss stands. On one day each year the park opened its gates to blacks, but the Rices never went.
One of Rice’s aunts recalled how upset she became when she learnt that she couldn’t visit the Alabama state fair, which was advertised on radio and television with tempting visions of petting zoos and carnival rides. She “just could not understand” why she could not go to the fair whenever she wanted, said Connie Ray. But for the most part Condi’s parents shielded her from such disappointments and taught her about the greater opportunities that lay beyond Birmingham.
“My parents had to try to explain why we wouldn’t go to the circus,” she said, “why we had to drive all the way to Washington DC before we could stay in a hotel. And they had to explain why I could not have a hamburger in a restaurant but I could be president anyway, which was the way they chose to handle the situation.”
With the bombings came marauding groups of armed white vigilantes called “nightriders” who drove through black neighbourhoods shooting and starting fires. John Rice and his neighbours guarded the streets at night with shotguns.
The memory of her father out on patrol lies behind Rice’s opposition to gun control today. Had those guns been registered, she argues, Bull Connor would have had a legal right to take them away, thereby removing one of the black community’s only means of defence. “I have a sort of pure second amendment view of the right to bear arms,” she said in 2001.
Read the whole thing, and realize that if only Dr. Rice had a “D” after her name, the press and the left would have a completely different regard for this woman; they would be holding her up as a noble and shining specimen of humanity (which she is) and claiming some credit for it all. They might even allow her some secondary leadership position somewhere in the party. Maybe. If she toed the line.
But Rice has dared to excel without the Democrats (who would not allow her college-educated father to register with the party unless he could correctly guess the number of beans in a jar. He became a Republican, instead) – her successes came, she says, not…from the civil rights struggle but from her own family legacy. Condi Rice’s story is all about the worth and value of having a strong, nurturing family life, one that keeps you centered and safe as it introduces you to the world, and allows you to explore and discover your potential. Her cultured, educated, middle-class parents sound just stupendous. I hope this story gets wide dissemination.